Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5 ATS 7-4-1 ATS) vs. Washington Redskins (5-7 SU 5-5-2 ATS) Week 14 NFL Football, FedEx Field, Landover, MD 1 PM EST Sunday December 12, 2010 on FOX
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: TB -3/WASH +3
Over/Under Total: 41
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already improved on last season’s 3-win campaign, but they lost a HUGE game last week, which dropped them 3 games behind Atlanta and 2 games behind New Orleans in the NFC South. This game is, pretty much, a must win game for the Bucs if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Bucs are 7-5, but are they that good? They have yet to beat a team that currently has a winning record, but they took the NFC leading Atlanta Falcons to the wire last week.
Things are not looking good in the Nation’s Capital, as the Washington Redskins have lost 2 in a row and 4 of their last 5 including getting killed last week to the hated New York Giants. After signing that huge contract extension, Donovan McNabb looks as if the one-year buyout looks like a better option for Washington. Sure, McNabb did pass for 296 yards with 1 TD against the Giants, but he threw 2 picks and fumbled the ball 3 times losing 1. Things do not get any easier for McNabb is this game facing a solid Bucs’ pass D that ranks 7th in the league.
Not that the Skins need any more distractions, but one of the main one this season has been DL Albert Haynesworth, who has not been much of a factor on D and was recently suspended for 4 games by the team because of “conduct detrimental to the club.”
In their last games the Redskins were embarrassed losing to the New York Giants 31-7 and the Bucs lost a heartbreaker to Atlanta 28-24.
McNabb will likely have to air it out often in this game since the Redskins’ RB corps has been decimated by injuries this season. Leading rusher Ryan Torain is questionable with a hamstring injury and he was inactive for the New York game. James Davis and Keiland Williams will likely get the majority of touches in this game and last week in New York the Skins only rushed for 74 yards. Even though the Bucs only have the league’s 26th ranked rushing D they stepped up last week and held the Falcons to only 85 yards on 3.1 yards per carry. Tampa will shut down the Washington rushing offense this Sunday.
The Redskins’ defense ranks 29th in the league against the pass and 28th against the run. They will not be able to contain Tampa Bay RB LeGarrette Blount, who rushed for 103 yards against Atlanta and their 6th ranked rushing defense. Last week Washington allowed the Giants’ RB duo of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to combine for 200 rushing yards and 4 TD.
Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman has a reputation for being a great 4th quarter QB, but his late INT against Atlanta last week sealed the Bucs’ loss. He had a decent game before the 4th quarter pick going 19/38 for 181 yards with 1 TD and he will have another decent game against a suspect Skins’ secondary. Last week Freeman struggled throwing intermediate and long routes and the coaching staff will reign him in with many short pass routes in this game, which the Skins have not been good at defending this season.
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The Redskins committed 6 turnovers in the loss to New York and they will not play that sloppy at home this Sunday. McNabb will have a big game and get some help from his WR corps that dropped several balls that should have been caught last week.
TB is 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games against Washington. The Bucs are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 road games and have covered the spread in their last 4 games against teams that have a losing record.
Washington is 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a home underdog and is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Skins are struggling and while McNabb will have a big game and cut down on the turnovers he will not lead Washington to a win. Blount will have a field day against the weak rushing defense of the Redskins and while this game will be close Tampa Bay will win and cover the 3-point spread.